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COLUMN: Changing colour of the medal should also change Canada's view of soccer

Big game gets going this morning at 8 a.m., with Canada facing Sweden; This could be Christine Sinclair's last Olympics, so the international star will leave everything on the pitch in her quest for gold
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If you're not a soccer fan in this country, the women's national team is going to make you become one.

Canada will play Sweden in the gold-medal game today at 8 a.m. Sweden is ranked fifth in the world, three spots better than Canada, but that means nothing at this point.

Having won back-to-back bronze medals, the Canuck motto heading into Tokyo was to "change the colour of the medal."

They will do that no matter the result, as silver is the worst they can accomplish.

People who aren't fans of soccer may think the gold medal is in the bag since Canada has defeated Brazil and the United States to get here, but Sweden's national program is stellar and this will be a tough test.

I'm a soccer fanatic and love to see new fans appreciate the game.

If it's your first women's national team game, here are some things to watch for.

Christine Sinclair. The GOAT. She has 187 international goals, more than any other player in the world. More than Cristiano Ronaldo. More than Lionel Messi. More than anyone, ever.

Sinclair has not found the back of the net since the opening game of the Olympics, which came against the host country, but this could very well be her last Summer Games and she will undoubtedly leave everything into the pitch.

In the Canadian goal, Stephanie Labbé is an absolute beast between the pipes. The goalkeeper has made some of the most crunch-time saves in these Summer Olympics and without her heroics in the shootout against Brazil, this dream final isn't even happening. New fans are in for a treat when watching her as she will amaze with her physicality to make a save.

If you're into defence, this Canadian squad is rewriting how it's played.

Remember the name Kadeisha (Keisha) Buchanan. The team's solid defence is led by Buchanan, who doesn't get the credit nationally she deserves.

At 25 years old, from a single-parent home with six other siblings, the Brampton native is quite possibly the most persevering and successful Canadian players in the game, having won up to eight championships with her French squad Olympique Lyonnais, along with a bronze with the red and white.

As a soccer fan, I'm already highly invested, but this is the start of a massive chance for Canadian soccer to gain the interest of as many new fans as they can.

The women's team has already gained a lot of attention and an Olympic gold medal would only heighten that. The men's program has a slew of young, fun and dynamic players, the 2026 World Cup is being hosted by Mexico, the USA and Canada and the next Women's World Cup is in 2023 (in Australia and New Zealand), so the next five years are the five most important for Canada Soccer.

And I am absolutely here for it.

Shawn Gibson is a staff reporter with BarrieToday.